; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: 2012

Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!!

Here's wishing everyone an awesome Happy New Year! All the best to each and every one of you for 2013! Hope it's filled with lots of FUN!

To get the night started, here's Nelly Furtado performing her latest single, Waiting For The Night! We'll all be waiting for the night tonight! Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Michael Buble - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) live on The Voice

Here's BC boy Michael Buble spreading some holiday cheer on The Voice recently. Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival - Friday Dec 21

If you're not already busy celebrating the End of the World on Friday, December 21st, then why not celebrate the Winter Solstice with this annual Lantern Festival!?

The event takes place all across Vancouver, from the East Side to Granville Island, down into Yaletown , Strathcona, False Creek, and Chinatown. Check out the Secret Lantern Society's website for route information and in the case of bad weather, where the indoor venues are located.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea!

Check out this children's book that would make a great gift for folks of all ages!!

 Yes, I wrote it!! :)

And you can purchase it at your local book stores or online here!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Postcards: Lights of Hope

Tis the season. Here's a snapshot of the front of St. Paul's Hospital with their annual display of the Lights of Hope, which represents all the donors who have given gifts to the hospital this year.

taken on iPhone 5

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Postcards: BCAA's Angel

I was walking around on my lunch break the other day and came across this "BCAA Angel" hanging about over by the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Vancouver Aquarium

With my Vancouver Inspiration Pass, I was able to go and visit the Vancouver Aquarium.

 It's a definite must if you're a visitor and you're making your way around Stanley Park and checking out the seawall. The Aquarium is a beautiful place and has awesome exhibits and shows for people of all ages. I opted to take my mom with me as she's never been before. Here she is taking in the breathtaking beauty of the beluga whale:

Then it was time to step into the Amazon, a newer exhibit that I had yet to witness. It had butterflies flitting about, giant blue birds, huge hissing cockroaches, other insects and amphibians from the Amazon rain forest, a mean lookin' crocodile, monkeys, and this giant ANACONDA snake!!

There is also currently a Luminescence exhibit being featured, which is "a celebration of aquatic light!" Fun! Check out these amazing jelly-fish:

And finally, the Aquarium's latest addition are these super cute penguins!!

There's also a Beluga show, a sea otter show, and a dolphin show, and much much more! Isn't it time you visit the Vancouver Aquarium

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas Wish Breakfast Toy Drive at the Pan Pacific

It's that time of year again! Time for the Christmas Wish Breakfast Toy Drive down at the Pan Pacific Hotel. It takes place Thursday, December 13th from 6am - 9am.

Back in its 25th year, the annual event benefits the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau, by asking the public to bring down a toy to donate to needy children. As a thank you, everyone who donates gets to eat from the hot buffet breakfast from Cafe Pacifica Restaurant.

Come down for a good cause, good food, and good entertainment!

* Please note, each year they get more than enough stuffed toys and the LMCB is in most need of toys for teenagers.

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Santaland Diaries - Arts Club

Monday night was a sold out audience at the Arts Club theatre's production of The Santaland Diaries playing at the Revue Stage on Granville Island.

Maybe it's because I'm familiar with the David Sedaris short story that this is based off of, or maybe it's because I've heard David Sedaris read this, but I found the production a bit off.  Some of the other audience members were heartily enjoying it, but a few of us thought that the pacing of the show was a bit too fast and that jokes got lost or stepped on.

Ryan Beil has his work cut out for him, delivering a 75 minute soliloquy about the ups and downs, mainly downs, of being a 30something year old Elf at the Macy Department Store's Christmas display. I wished it wasn't as frenetic, but perhaps it was the show's way of showcasing the frenzy of the holidays and the downward spiral into insanity that one can get caught in while working in Santaland.

The Santaland Diaries runs until December 29.

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe - Pacific Theatre


When we got to Pacific Theatre for opening night of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, we were wondering, how is this gonna work? How are they gonna transport the landscape that is Narnia into the tiny theatre space that itself could've been the size of a wardrobe? How will they show us Aslan and the White Witch in all their grandeur?

Then we looked at the program and noticed there were only two people in the cast. Curioser and curioser.

 Photo by Michael Julian Berz. Pictured: Mack Gordon and Kaitlin Williams

It turns out, this play is a stripped down bare bones show that introduces us to Lucy and Peter, all grown up now, and reuniting to reminisce about the good ol' days, those being the ones when they would escape into a magical wardrobe and into an enchanted land. If I wasn't familiar with the story of Narnia, I'm not sure if I would have gotten everything. I was trying to imagine myself as somebody who has never heard of the books or the movie before and decided to go to this play and what they might have thought.

It's cleverly done, with the two actors trading hats and coats to become a multitude of characters, from fawns and beavers to their rival siblings. Mack Gordon and Kaitlin Williams don their best British accents and transform from character to character, all the while narrating the action for the audience to imagine. They transition seamlessly between roles, and I can't imagine the amount of work they had to put into this. It's a hefty feat and a daunting task, for sure, so kudos to the two actors!

Photo by Ron Reed.
Pictured: Kaitlin Williams and Mack Gordon.

Imagination is the key to the production, as the set is minimal. The liner notes admit that no matter what was done, no matter what kind of budget they could have had, there was no way that they could match the Narnia of the mind. What we create in our imagination is always going to win out, thus the reasoning behind the simplistic telling of this tale.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe runs this holiday season until December 15 at Pacific Theatre. For more information on the upcoming tour of the lower mainland, check out the show's site.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

AKA, the Planetarium! I remember going here as a kid, but I can't remember the last time I was there as an adult. It was most likely for a Radiohead laser show one evening.

With my current possession of the Vancouver Inspiration Pass, I've been trying to go out to do more things and visit places I haven't been to in awhile. The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is one of the places you can visit with the pass! And there are some fun things to do there!

For one, you can touch a moon rock!!

You can also take a turn at trying to lift up this meteor, which is a LOT heavier than it looks! And how cool is it to be touching a METEOR!?!?

And of course you can go and catch the daily shows going on in the theatre, with HAROLD The Star Projector!

The show itself was great to watch and learn about the planets and the Solar System, with footage of Earth from space as well as the surfaces of some of the other planets in our universe. It definitely made me feel that much smaller in this world we live in. A fun and educational experience for all! 

If you've never been, or if it's been awhile, then might I suggest a visit to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Leo at the Cultch

This has got to be the hottest show of the season! LEO (pronounced "lay-o") is a visually stunning mind bending odyssey that had the audience laughing and completely enthralled from beginning to end.

Take the simple humour of Mr Bean and mesh it with the agility of Spider Man and the grace of Fred Astaire, and you have German performer Tobias Wegner in a thrilling one-man show that combines music, art, dance, and movement into an epic journey across dimensions. At one point, chalk drawings are incorporated and I so badly wanted them to come alive... and perhaps if it's a special night like tonight, they might!

This is a co-production with Germany's theatre group Circle of Eleven, who put on the equally astounding SOAP - The Show, which I had the good fortune to catch over in London, England. You better get yourself to The Cultch because it's not often that we get this type of international calibre in town! This is definitely an acrobatic accomplishment that will leave you completely satisfied and overjoyed with pure unadulterated happiness.

After it was over, I wanted to prance down the street and leap over cars (but only managed to sidestep puddles). You will be inspired by a performance brimming with joy and emotion and absolute heart. You will witness an energy so unique and an experience completely memorable that you'll want to go back again and again and bring all your friends with you!

LEO plays at The Cultch now until Dec 15. Get your tickets quick!  Go see LEO now!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Vancouver Opera: Pirates of Penzance

I've been busy with the Vancouver Inspiration Pass lately, and one of the many things I've done is attend the Vancouver Opera production of Pirates of Penzance!

I'm not a huge opera person so this was a good way for me to check out an opera. I have seen a few operas in the past, such as Porgy and Bess and Madame Butterfly, but Pirates of Penzance is a great introduction for people like me who are not huge enthusiasts, because 1) it's in English while most other operas are not and 2) it's a comedy and the show itself is rather entertaining and funny.

I saw my first opera when I was in high school, and wouldn't you know it, it was Pirates of Penzance! I was too young to appreciate it, I think. I'm glad I got to see it again and actually get the story and find myself enjoying it! This particular production also puts a modern twist on things with lines written specifically for Canadian audiences.

The Pirates of Penzance is on now at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre until Dec 9.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

OPRAH in Vancouver - Jan 24!

Oprah Winfrey will be breezing into town this January at Rogers Arena!

Tickets available through Ticketmaster.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Postcards: View from Cambie Bridge

Remember that one day a week ago? Yeah. Me too.

Photo by YVR-51
Taken with a Camera Canon Powershot A550

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Dancing at Lughnasa

"Set in County Donegal in Ireland, 1936, this profoundly moving play is a semi-autobiographical story of playwright Brian Friel’s childhood when his aunts, the five Mundy sisters, all lived under the same roof. Friel appears in the character of five-year-old love child Michael, making his origins a terrific scandal for the period, and the five spirited sisters themselves are a challenge to the conventions of the community. Dancing at Lughnasa is one of Friel’s undisputed masterpieces, a drama that mixes memory with desire and generous humor with a bittersweet sadness."

Dancing at Lughnasa is a Tony award and Olivier award winning play. It runs until Dec 1 at the Frederic Wood Theatre at UBC.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Postcards: Autumn in November

A brief reprieve from the rain a week ago. Photo taken on iPhone 5 over by 29th Avenue Skytrain Station.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Coast Modern

I am very excited to go see this documentary about Modern architecture on the West Coast!

Coast Modern is "an independent documentary by directors Mike Bernard and Gavin Froome. Travelling along the Pacific North West coastline from LA to Vancouver, the film showcases the pioneers of West Coast Modernist Architecture, and the homes that have become their legacies. Stepping inside the most inspired dwellings on the west coast, we feel how the light and space of a classic Modernist home can work in collaboration with the natural environment."

Coast Modern plays tonight at the Norm Theatre at UBC at 6pm. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Postcards: False Creek at Night

I took this photo a week ago down at False Creek, looking over at the Telus World of Science and BC Place in the background.

(photo taken on iPhone 5)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Government Inspector - Langara's Studio 58

I had heard so much about the talent and calibre of Langara's Studio 58 theatre but had yet to go see a show there. There was The Crucible a while back, which I wanted to see, but everytime I tried, it was sold out! Well, I was fortunate enough to catch a preview of their latest production, The Government Inspector.

Anna & Hlestakov - Stephanie Izsak as Anna Andreyevna & Tim W. Carlson as Hlestakov in The Government Inspector on stage @ Studio 58, Langara College until December 2. Photo by David Cooper.

Based on a play from 1836, this newly adapted show stays true to the original with a few modern gags thrown in for good measure. In fact, the gags are plentiful in this burst-out-loud-laughing night of theatre. From bumbling physical comedy to jokes and quips that whiz by if you're not paying full attention, the show had something for everyone. At points when I felt something was so absurd or dumb, there were others in the audience who were bellowing with laughter, and vice versa. I had moments of, "Oh my God, this is SO stupid!!" but yet I could not help smiling and laughing!

Anna, Dobchinsky & Bobchinsky - From Left to right: Jordan Jenkins as Bobchinsky, Stephanie Izsak as Anna Andreyevna & Dallas Sauer as Dobchinsky in The Government Inspector on stage @ Studio 58, Langara College until December 2. Photo by David Cooper.

The Government Inspector is a screwball Russian comedy that involves mistaken identity, silly shenanigans, and a twist ending that left me feeling very satisfied. It kind of reminded me of my favourite movie from the 80s, Clue, with its farce-like comedy and over exaggerated acting. The cast of actors in this show were wonderful. My favourites of the night included Katey Hoffman's gossipy postmistress, the village idiots Dobchinksy and Bobchinsky played by Dallas Sauer and Jordan Jenkins respectively, and the accordion girl whose comedic timing was on point and helped transition the scenes.

Postmistress & Hlestakov - Katey Hoffman as The Postmistress and Tim W. Carlson as The Government Inspector on stage @ Studio 58, Langara College until December 2. Photo by David Cooper. 

At first I was worried because the first scene was set in the Mayor's office, which looked rather uninspired with a single desk and red curtains hanging from the walls. However, it transformed entirely as Scenes 2 and 3 evolved the open space into first a bullet-ridden room at the local run-down inn and then into a luxurious waiting room at the Mayor's extravagant home.

Siona, Joel & Stephanie - From left to right - Siona Gareau-Brennan as Marya Antonova, Joel Wirkkunen as The Mayor & Stephanie Izsak as Anna Andreyevna in The Government Inspector on stage @ Studio 58, Langara College until December 2. Photo by David Cooper.

The show itself revolves around a small Russian town who have caught wind that a government inspector would be visiting to take stock and report back to the mighty Czar about how things were being run in said town. We then meet a visiting disgruntled government clerk, assumed to be the inspector and hilarity ensues.

There is so much going on up on the stage that there will definitely be something for everyone to look at or focus on. For my first Studio 58 production, I was very glad to see that they measure up to all the hype and buzz that they have going for them. If you need a good night of Russian comedy (and really who doesn't) then go check out The Government Inspector!

The Government Inspector runs at Langara's Studio 58 until December 2nd.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Dickens' Women at The Cultch

What the Dickens is going on at The Cultch this month? Why, for all you Harry Potter fiends, it's Professor Sprout setting up class! However, she's not lecturing on magical plants this time around. Instead, actress Miriam Margolyes is channeling characters from the works of Charles Dickens, as the world celebrates his bi-centenary.

Dickens' Women is a love letter to the writer of works such as Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, and many more. Margolyes gives you a crash course of his life and uses characters from his books to help illustrate the colourful and sometimes dark corners that his journey takes us on.

And who knew I'd be so familiar with Margolyes work? Aside from Harry Potter, she's been in numerous films, TV shows, and plays, a lot of which I have seen her in, including her role as the original Madame Morrible in Broadway's Wicked

And you can tell Margolyes has a deep affinity for Dickens, her passion and enthusiasm coming through every pore. This was always the best kind of teacher in school, one who loves their work and subject and wants to share that with everyone. Of course, when Marolyes transforms into the different Dickens characters, it makes this one-woman show even more alive!

Dickens Women is now playing at The Cultch until December 1. Tickets can be purchased online.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Crackle Sponsored Post: Best Places to Watch a Film in Canada

Watching a movie in a theatre possesses a magic which few other experiences can match. There is nothing quite like smelling the mix of popcorn and excitement as you walk into a packed cinema. Canada has its fair share of great venues at which to watch the latest movies.

Of course, there’s no denying that technology can provide anything at your own convenience. If funds are tight or you simply don't want to face the crowds, then it could be a good idea to get the laptop out and watch movies online. Games consoles, mobile phones and tablet computers all have great screens and sound, opening up a great deal of flexibility for film fans. You can enjoy an online film almost anywhere, at your own time. But admit it or not, it can get really boring.

So if you’re in the mood to go outside the borders of your home and enjoy a good movie or two, here are the top places that you should check out:

If you are in Ottawa, then the Mayfair Theatre remains one of the city's top venues. This used to be Ottawa's main venue for second run films and cult classics. Indeed, the traditional showing of the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' continues to take place each year.

Montreal has its own film festival each autumn, but there are also plenty of places to go to see a good film when the festival isn't on. The Banque Scotia Montreal Cineplex is an efficient venue in which to see mainstream films, and offers customers IMAX films too.

The Rainbow Cinema in Market Square in Toronto is another solid cinema where you can enjoy the latest releases for a very reasonable six dollars. Patrons can also treat friends and family with some cinema gift tokens, which can boost the excitement at times like Christmas and birthdays.

For western Canadians, Vancouver offers a wonderful film experience in the form of the Twilight Drive In in Langley. This is Vancouver's only drive in cinema, and tends to stay open whatever the weather is doing. General admission is usually 12 dollars 50 cents, but there are reductions for children and senior citizens. It is closed from November through February though, when the wild Canadian winter shuts it down for the season.

With many of the latest releases available as online downloads or streams within weeks of their cinema release these days, it can be a cost effective and comfortable way of keeping up to date with what the movie industry is producing.

But nothing is quite like see a film in a proper cinema, so when you can, make sure you try out one of the top venues mentioned above.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Kid Gloves at the Firehall Arts Centre

Kid Gloves is a new play by Sally Stubbs that presents a fictionalized account of the first two women to become police officers in Canada.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Colleen Wheeler in this production, as I had just seen her in Electric Company's Initiation Trilogy and had thought she was fantastic. She sinks her teeth into the meaty role of the tough and eager Constable Lurancy Harris, who realizes what it means to be one of the first female officers in Canada, the load that can carry, and the battles she will face. Her performance is spot on and she is just a wonder to watch on stage!

Her partner in crime is Dawn Petten, who plays the meeker Constable Minnie Miller, and who holds her ground portraying one of our country's trail blazers. The two together make for a perfect pair, and they take up every inch of that spotlight. The rest of the supporting cast are fairly good but the show definitely belongs to these two women, as much of history and this production, rides on their shoulders.

The show itself is not bad. There's a storyline featuring brothels and prostitutes and "Orientals" which may or may not be true to its time, but I didn't really find having a case to solve really added all that much to the play. I would rather have seen the daily lives of these women trying to prove themselves in an all-boys club. The show does manage to get that across, but the additional musical numbers and film noir-inspired crime plot were things I could have done without.

Kid Gloves plays at the Firehall Arts Centre now until December 1st.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

GREASE is the word!

It's got groove! It's got meaning!

Yes that's right, GREASE is currently playing in town! I'm so thrilled at the plethora of musicals that we consistently have going on in the Lower Mainland! If you are only waiting around for those Broadway Across Canada shows, then you are missing out. If you look for it,  you will find at least one musical a month to go to in town!

Footlight Theatre Company brings GREASE back to the stage over at the Michael J. Fox theatre in Burnaby. It runs from Nov 9 - 24 and tickets are only $20 from TicketsTonight.ca

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Midnight Magic !

Last night, Brooklyn-based band Midnight Magic blew the roof off the Waldorf hotel here in Vancouver!!

Their disco influenced sounds had the entire room dancing! I loved the brass section, and lead singer Tiffany Roth had us screaming for more! Highlights of the night for me included the sultry Heat, their hit song Drop Me a Line, and my favourite, the raise-your-hands-anthem I Found Love.  Everything else was just a delicious sparkly disco cherry on top!

If you're sad that you didn't get to paint on some glitter and come out for this awesome new band, not to worry! You can always check out their music on iTunes

I'm so glad I got to see them in such an intimate venue! Thank you Midnight Magic for coming to Vancouver!! Come back soon!!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Midnight Magic at the Waldorf

It's Disco Friday today as Midnight Magic comes to the Waldorf!! Who's going!?

They are self-described as: "A nine person ensemble bonded by the unwavering desire to make you, the listener, and the rhythm become one; the secret love children of Donna Summer and George Clinton serving up an orgasmic feast of funk, disco, electro and soul."

Can't WAIT!

Tickets are still available. For more information, visit the Waldorf website!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Diwali Downtown - November 10

Celebrate Diwali this week!!


"Celebrated across the world, Diwali is the biggest, brightest and most popular event in the Indian calendar. The word diwali means “row of lighted lamps”, with light symbolizing the triumph of good over evil, prosperity over poverty and knowledge over ignorance. It’s a time for lighting diyas, laying out colorful rangolis, setting off fireworks, exchanging gifts of sweets and celebrating with dance, music and storytelling."

Come on down to the Roundhouse Community Centre on Saturday November 10 to take part in Diwali Downtown! It's a free event (Donations suggested $5) with programming from 3pm into the evening in the great hall, a room-sized rangoli in another, and a bazaar set up in another, plus activities throughout the building. There will be performances and food trucks set up, including Vij’s Railway Express!

Check out the official Vancouver Celebrates Diwali website for more information on the event! 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

BC RCMP - It Gets Better

I think this is just really great. The BC RCMP have put out an It Gets Better video to show their support for GLTBQ youth.

Check it out:

I've met one of the officers in this video, so good for him and all of them! Congratulations on this video everybody. Thank you for sharing your stories and being out and proud!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Fillmore Family Prairie Fairy Fowl Supper

Last night I attended the Fillmore Family Prairie Fairy Fowl Supper and boy was it a hoot!

Sold out every year, this annual fundraiser takes on the tradition of a Fowl Supper, which "is a prairie phenomenon brought to life through the involvement and vision of innumerable church groups and service clubs. Each fall, in celebration of the harvest (bountiful or not) communities gather to share in a down-home Turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Practically every town, large and small, has at least one Fowl Supper. Weekends from September to November are spent driving to the Fowl Supper of the week in Legion Halls to the basements of the local church.

Last night's festivities raised money for A Loving Spoonful, Out In Schools, and McLaren Housing Society of BC.

First off, it's a good ol' fashioned hoe down! So everybody gets dressed in their best Western gear. Then people line up at 4pm to get in on a good spot since the seating is all picnic tables and it's about 50 people to a table. You're asked to bring all your loose change because the table that raises the most money in coin gets to go eat first! Last night, I believe the winning table raised about $1400 in change! The table I was at managed to raise about half of that and we were third last to go up to get our meal.

The meal included turkey dinner with all the trimmings! There was also a jellied salad contest, which was not part of what was being served! With performances all night long, dancing afterwards, a silent auction upstairs, ticket raffles, and running into old friends, this was a wonderful evening! It's great to go and have a good time and also give back to the community.  Thank you to Linda Fillmore for having this event! Country realness at its finest!

Friday, 2 November 2012

United In Anger - free screening at SFU Harbour Centre

I've been wanting to see this documentary for awhile now! United In Anger is a film about AIDS Activist group ACT UP from the 1980s, and it will be shown tonight at SFU Harbour Centre at 7pm.

If you're interested, go to this website and register for your free tickets:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Vancouver Inspiration Pass

Wow it feels like there's so much going on in Vancouver these days, it's hard to keep up. This is one thing I definitely need to blog about though, even though it's probably on all the other more timely and popular blogs out there!

Still, it's a good little thing to know for locals! The Vancouver Inspiration Pass was introduced today by the mayor. It's a joint project with the Vancouver Public Library:

"Opening the door to exciting experiences and fun things to see and do across the city, the Vancouver Inspiration Pass is a free cultural and recreational pass program that allows families and teens to get out and explore their city like never before!

Free for Vancouver residents aged 14-years and older, participants can request to borrow a pass for two weeks at any Vancouver Public Library branch."

It will allow access to venues such as the Vancouver Aquarium, Science World, Vancouver Art Gallery, HR MacMillan Space Centre, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Roedde House Museum and Vancouver Police Museum.

"The passes also allow free entry to all the park board’s fitness centres, swimming pools, skating rinks, pitch-and-putt golf courses and botanical gardens. Passes can be used for a limited number of seats for performances. The Vancouver Opera, for example, is setting aside up to 30 seats at each of 10 performances. Also participating are the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Bach Choir."

Master Class

Last night I went to watch Terrence McNally's Tony-award winning play Master Class, now playing at the Granville Island Stage.

Although there is a cast of 6, there is no denying here that the shining star of this production is Gina Chiarelli who plays famed opera singer Maria Callas now turned Julliard instructor who relives her tumultuous and not so distant past through her teaching and her students.

Angus Kellett is the patient piano man who is witness to all of Maria's tirades and outbursts. Felix LeBlanc plays the oblivious stagehand, who fetches water and pillows for the diva in distress, either not caring or not knowing whom she is or used to be. The hopeful students are played by Shannon Chan-Kent, Melanie Krueger, and Frederik Robert, all of whom gift the audience with their operatic talents.

This play is not about opera though, not really. So if you're like me and not an opera fan, you will still enjoy this for the writing and most definitely for the acting. This play is about narcissism and holding on to a life long gone. It's a fictionalized portrait of a true life diva, and Gina Chiarelli knocks the performance way out of the ballpark. She is terrific, she is mesmerizing, she is breathtaking, she is tantalizing. Even though she sings only but a few strained bars, she had the entire audience in the palm of her hand with her portrayal of Callas and we ate up every last bit. I was in the second row so I could see the tears that rolled down her face as she gave her heart and soul into a truly stunning and powerful performance. And she has to do this every night? I am exhausted just thinking about it.

I'm sorry I didn't get to see this earlier on as I would have herded everyone who reads this to the show immediately. If you get the opportunity, go attend Master Class. It's one of the best performances in Vancouver I have seen in a long time.

Master Class runs until this Saturday, Oct 27th at the Granville Island Stage.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Jetset - Theatre Replacement fundraiser Nov 3!

Theatre Replacement is a Vancouver theatre company. They are holding their annual Art Auction/Fundraiser, which will include a live auction of artwork by local and renowned artists, such as Julie Morstad, Cindy Mochizuki and Sarinah Haba. There will also be live music and a DJ.

Tickets are $10 and include a drink, if you come before 9pm. There will also be a live animation show by Cindy Mochizuki and Ana Mori for an additional $10.

Theatre Replacement is an ongoing collaboration between James Long and Maiko Bae Yamamoto. Whether working together or apart, we use extended processes to create performances from intentionally simple beginnings. Our work is about a genuine attempt to coexist. Questions of authorship, ownership and copyright are always alive inside our examinations of found materials. Conversations, interviews and arguments collide with Yamamoto and Long's aesthetics resulting in theatrical experiences that are authentic, immediate and hopeful.

The company continues to build and tour work, and has been presented at internationally recognized festivals and venues, including Festival TransAmériques (Montreal), Magnetic North Theatre Festival (Ottawa & Vancouver), Free Fall Festival (Toronto), High Performance Rodeo & Enbridge PlayRites Festival (Calgary), On the Boards (Seattle WA), Fusebox Festival (Austin TX), Noorderzon Festival (Groningen NL) and the PAZZ Performing Arts Festival (Oldenburg Germany).

The Jetset fundraiser takes  place November 3, at 7pm at the Beaumont Studios - 316 West 5th Avenue.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Initiation Trilogy - Electric Company

Last night I attended one of the coolest theatre productions going on right now in town! Electric Company Theatre presents Initiation Trilogy, a 90 minute 3-part show that has you moving from place to place all around Granville Island. I've heard so much about Electric Company Theatre and had never been to any of their shows, because they are ALWAYS sold out! They currently have a show running in Toronto that premiered here in Vancouver last year (Tear the Curtain!) which is getting rave reviews over there too.

With Initiation Trilogy, I had NO idea what to expect. I was just thrilled to have gotten tickets (bought them a month in advance!) I don't want to ruin or spoil the experience for anyone, so I won't go into what the show is actually about. Let's just say it's three separate experiences, all of which are equally as amazing and creative as the next. Based upon three different books of poetry, the scenes that they set out for you are so far apart and so different from one another yet at the same time hold a recurring theme of some sort of "initiation."

 It's a wildly fantastic show from the genius minds at Electric Theatre Company, and you absolutely HAVE to go see this! Initiation Trilogy runs on Granville Island now until October 28th.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Andrew Grassie at the Rennie Collection

(photo by L. Madziag)

It was the perfect rainy weekend to go check out the latest exhibit at the Rennie Collection. Jill, Dave, Lukasz, Peter and myself hit up the Andrew Grassie installment on Saturday afternoon. The show was challenging, I found. It wasn't art that I particularly liked. It was very metaphysical, I thought, in that the artist liked to create art about art. Am I losing you?

One example: he would take photographs of himself painting with egg tempera and then he would take those photos and create a painting out of that. So it's the process of him painting that becomes the artwork, and calls into question what exactly is artwork, how does it become considered artwork, etc etc etc?!

It was a bit too much! But I did enjoy being in the Wing Sang building as always, and look forward to the next exhibit there. This one? I wasn't a huge fan, but I did enjoy the end product of that egg tempera painting, titled Smiley Face:

Two other pieces I liked were paintings of Bob Rennie's, (the collector's), home apartment, painted 3 years apart by the artist.  Otherwise, I found the exhibit to be very minimalist. There's a lot of space that can be used, but the works are tiny and look even tinier in the large empty gallery. Perhaps that too is part of the point? You'll have to go and see for yourself!

If you haven't been to the Rennie Collection before, I do recommend it. It's a private art collection, so you have to book yourself a tour in advance. You are then led around the gallery by an art history student who will give you a very informative tour of the space and the exhibit. (Thanks Robin!)

The Andrew Grassie exhibit runs at the Rennie Collection until February 9th, 2013.